Censor Unclassified 18+
At the height of the ‘video nasty’ era, a tightly wound film censor begins to unravel in this clever and subversive ode to the genre.
Enid Baines takes her work at the British Board of Film Censors seriously. It’s the mid-80s, and an explosion in low-budget schlock horror driven by the VHS boom keeps her busy cutting gratuitous eye-gouging and excess genital footage. She’s good at her job, but when a slasher film titled Don’t Go in the Church triggers distressing childhood memories, our scrupulous, studious protagonist starts to come unstuck. It doesn’t help that she’s also caught up in the moral panic around a copycat murder case blamed on a film she approved.
Astutely directed by first-time feature filmmaker Prano Bailey-Bond – who previously explored similar thematic territory in the award-winning short Nasty (MIFF 2016) – Censor evokes the lurid lo-fi aesthetics and stress-inducing soundscapes of the video nasty genre. The result is both an eerily atmospheric and witty homage as well as a pointed examination of trauma. Niamh Algar’s performance is suitably discombobulating as Enid slowly loses her grip on reality, while the supporting cast convincingly embody the era’s moods and obsessions.
“A stylish, effective horror that is both an homage to genre cinema … and a psychological dive into the combined traumas of grief and guilt.” – Screen Daily
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